Barrett advances to rematch with Walker
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett handily defeated Tuesday former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk–his most formidable opponent out of four candidates–for the Democratic nomination for governor in the recall primary elections.
Barrett’s win sets up a rematch between him and embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election.
Walker narrowly defeated Barrett by six percentage points in the 2010 general election.
In Tuesday’s primary, Barrett garnered 58% of the vote (390,109) to Falk’s 35% (228,940). State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout garnered four percent of the vote (26,926), followed by Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (19,461) with three percent and protest candidate Gladys Huber with one percent (4,842).
Barrett won the nomination despite Falk’s strong union backing. He will be joined by Falk at a unity rally Wednesday afternoon in front of Barrett’s home.
During his victory speech Tuesday night, Barrett called for unity and emphasized he will not be beholding to special interest groups.
The unions will hold a rally of their own in Madison calling for unity and a concentrated effort to oust Walker, who during his first year in office has taken away public workers’ collective bargaining rights, drastically reduced health care for poor families and the elderly, and took away a large amount of funding for state public schools while simultaneously prohibiting districts from raising property taxes to off-set the funding losses.
The head of one of those unions opposing Walker’s agenda won his primary bid to become Wisconsin’s first African American Lieutenant Governor. Mahlon Mitchell, firefighter and president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, easily won his contest, securing 395,944 votes (52 percent) to candidates Isaac Weix’s 197,052 votes (26%) and Ira Robins’ 165,075 votes (22%).
Mitchell will face off against incumbent Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who did not have a primary. As for Gov. Walker, he won his primary over token opposition presented by another protest candidate, Republican Arthur Kohl-Riggs. Walker tallied 626,538 (97%) votes to Kohl-Riggs’ 19,920 (3%).
During her concession speech, Falk urged her supporters to shift their energy and committment to the Barrett camp and unite for the singluar cause of defeating Walker June 5.